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Independence Day: people’s march versus military parade2009-05-14 13:37
The opposition fixed a new X hour for the president who obstinately refuses to step down. This time it's May 26 - Georgia's Independence Day.
The authorities and opposition have different plans for May 26. The day of restoration of independent statehood is the main state holiday in today's Georgia. It is associated with the Act on Independence of Georgia of May 26 1918 when the government led by Noe Jordania proclaimed the country's independence. This is a ceremonial celebration with fireworks, an orchestra and a military parade as traditional attributes. In spite of the internal political crisis the leaders of the republic are not going to step out of line and are preparing ceremonies and a parade in Rustaveli Avenue on the 18th anniversary of the country's independence.
Contrary to the authorities the opposition are organizing their own "people's parade" planning to continue rallies in the capital and regions with pickets, Civil Georgia reports. "May 26 is announced a new April 9, a new day of gathering and I ask you to be mobilized for a people's parade", - Levan Gachechiladze, an opposition leader, called on the demonstrators near the parliament. The opposition is not going to take away cage-cells from Rustaveli Avenue that were installed there as a protest. Meanwhile it was reported as early as on April 4 that the authorities had tasked the organizers of protests in the capital to clear Rustaveli Avenue before May 16. The decision is connected with preparations for the Independence Say parade.
The opposition is not giving up. According to Levan Gachechiladze's recent statement the cells won't be removed. "If the force is applied, there will be an adequate response. This is our territory", - Georgian media quote. Movement for United Georgia leader Eka Beselia also believes the president "will not be able to hold a military parade" on May 26.
The leaders of numerous parties are enviably united on this issue stating no parade will take place this year. Neither is it permissible for Mikheil Saakashvili who lost the war and brought humiliation to the army not to hold the military parade. According to the plan of the opposition on May 26 their supporters will gather at the National Stadium and start the march that will end in a civil parade in Rustaveli Avenue. Is the holiday confrontation possible in Rustaveli Avenue? This is just one more rhetorical question. However this threat has been there many times for 35 days of political standoff.
By a miracle the Georgian authorities and opposition have managed to avoid an open clash that could lead to civil confrontation so far. Georgia went through all this - a year after declaration of independence.